Bayesian causal mediation analysis with multiple ordered mediators. (English) Zbl 07289550

Summary: Causal mediation analysis provides investigators insight into how a treatment or exposure can affect an outcome of interest through one or more mediators on causal pathway. When multiple mediators on the pathway are causally ordered, identification of mediation effects on certain causal pathways requires a sensitivity parameter to be specified. A mixed model-based approach was proposed in the Bayesian framework to connect potential outcomes at different treatment levels, and identify mediation effects independent of a sensitivity parameter, for the natural direct and indirect effects on all causal pathways. The proposed method is illustrated in a linear setting for mediators and outcome, with mediator-treatment interactions. Sensitivity analysis was performed for the prior choices in the Bayesian models. The proposed Bayesian method was applied to an adolescent dental health study, to see how social economic status can affect dental caries through a sequence of causally ordered mediators in dental visit and oral hygiene index.


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